an antique book: death and resurrection


i was given an assignment to document
"a day in the life of __________."
i had a hard time coming up with something
interesting to document for a day
since i have no kids, no pets, no 9-5 job.
then i remembered a project i have been wanting
to do for ages:
make a literary corner in our little apartment.
here's the story of the death and resurrection of
an antique book:

i found this perfect abridged 1922 copy of les miserables
at an antique store just around the corner from our home.
i'll have you know that i had to think long and hard about
tearing this treasure apart.
i've never killed a book like this, or ever really.
books are my dearest friends,
and i definitely have more books than i have friends that are people.
my point is is that this was heart-wrenching for me
to tear out the pages of such a life.
i had to trust myself that this book would serve a greater purpose,
and that this book would just sit on a shelf unnoticed and unloved otherwise.
so i closed my eyes,
and began this painful and dirty job.

as i began to see how lovely this wall would be,
i was oh so grateful for my little book
that made such a sacrifice.
i began to see that i could read favorite passages
every time i sat in my beloved reading chair.

it's spine will sit upon a little table near its pages on the wall,
in memoriam.
and i brought home some white roses
as an offering and a friend for my book and its pages.

it turned out quite beautiful,
at least that's how i feel about it.
it was so very worth it indeed.
but don't worry,
i will not be going on a tearing-up-books frenzy.
one is quite enough.


Jill said...

What a wonderful idea! I really love that. Not only for how it looks but for what it represents. Awesome Ann! I sure love your blog. :)

Olivia said...

Wow, I really like how that looks.

Linz said...

ok, when i saw the ripped guts of the book, i was in shock. i literally sat here, mouth open, hands trembling, for about 10 seconds. but when i saw the end result, and how the pages of a powerful and classic piece was commemorated so beautifully on your wall, i felt my mind transition from shock into wonder. your wall looks amazing. it looks like a wonderful, beautiful, and whimsical tribute to literature. brava.

bigBANG studio said...

ditto what linz said! SUCH a *daring,* brilliant idea, and i LOVE the end result. you know, you could do something clever with the spine, too. maybe store your letters in it with ribbon, or something crafty like this:

Bernie said...

Oh my....your wall, the roses all look so beautiful...why then am I feeling so sad......have a wonderful weekend my friend.
.......:-) Hugs

Cassie said...

I'd say it's a wonderful way to display a book (though the book lover in me completely understands the horror of tearing up such a treasure!)

Ann Marie said...

what a GREAT idea on how to repurpose the spine. totally going to try it.

didn't mean to make anyone sad...hoping that my old book in a new form will bring me more joy this way!

She Who Carries Camera said...

that is probably the most daring and creative things I have ever seen! what an absolutely fantastic idea. how exactly did you adhere them all to the wall?

Char said... beautiful, but sad - i understand the sad. beautiful results though

nadia said...

it looks so beautiful. i have such hard time giving up books. i remember my dog getting to one and tearing it apart i could not get rid of the pages so i started to wrap flowers with them and cut paper hearts with them and so on. this is lovely and feels layered and the coloration has that times past feeling!!

LMT said...

This is so fresh and brave, great book of choice too. Its a beauty. Great photos too.

Courtney said...

I absolutely love this idea!
Last week, I ripped out some pages from an old dictionary to use for a project and felt unbelievably sinful... but in a rebel sort of way.

I might have to try this someday. How did you end up attaching the pages to the wall? Perhaps that yellow handi-tak stuff?

Ann Marie said...

i used double-sided removeable scrapbooking tape. so far so good!

S. Etole said...

what an artful but painful idea ... may have to try a tiny section with some letters and post cards written in the early 1900's ...

kelly ann said...

this is such a magnificent idea! i absolutely love it!

tori said...

I want that room in my house. But I also want that book to stay put where it is on my shelf. Maybe I'll try a book I didn't like. Although, I don't think it would be as wonderful if that was the case. I love this though; good idea.

Jessica said...

This is a lovely idea. So unique.

Stop by my blog and enter my giveaway!

L said...

This is beautiful! I love it!

beth said...

I love this so much.....
it looks like there are many photos and only some are coming up for viewing....

is it just I the only one who can't see all the photos ?

Ann Marie said...

all the photos come up for me...but sometimes my computer doesn't cooperate and doesn't bring them all up for me...i'm not sure why this is, but at the moment all are popping up fine. anyone else having problems seeing the photos?

a tree called life said...

that's an amazing idea! i don't think i would have been able to bring myself to do it, but that wall looks great!
a well worth it sacrifice! i'm definitely going to consider doing this! just the matter of finding the right book...

Netti said...

Oh!!! I absolutely love it so much! What a pretty idea, and it turned out so well. I am super impressed!

Athena. said...

i love this so much..
it's lovely and magical and tragically beautiful.

G said...

What a beautiful corner you have made yourself. I'm going to check out that double sided removeable tape... for all the postcards I have and love and am challenged by in how to display.

Anonymous said...

so,so lovely....xox

Marika said...

Beautifully executed - I love the almost blank page in the middle of all the text. What a labor of love! Reminds me a bit of some of the old text collage a friend of mine does:
Thought you might like it!

VanessasRunway said...

Oh my, that's gorgeous! Fabulous idea!

Loving the blog, btw! :)

SE'LAH... said...

what a wonderful and original idea. it looks fab too.

one love.

Ziad Ali said...

i am so incredibly inspired, this is wonderful. i would feel the same about tearing such an old and beautiul book, but when it will serv a greater purpose it is fine. i also find it very hard to tear magazines.
thanks you for this beautiful post.
I love the white and cream colour pallete.
oh and thankyou for your lovely comment, you blog is georgous :)
Pearl xo

Nathan Williams said...

great idea, really.
we've got an ancient copy of henry david thoreaus "walden", and i'm thinking of doing the same

Kelly Hannah K said...

although the death of a beautiful old book, this creation you've done with it on your wall, is one of the prettiest things I've ever seen!

Sam said...

wow, this is so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! How lovely :)

So so beautiful! Now I want to do it to my room!